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National Parks Service workers play Trump at his own game

A group of government employees have taken to Twitter to protest the Trump administration. The "Alternative National Parks Service" said it would oppose climate change denial from the White House.

A few employees of the US' National Parks Service have reportedly taken their "resistance" to the White House's gag order for government agencies to President Donald Trump's own stomping ground - Twitter. According to multiple news outlets, the @AltNatParkSer account is being run by an anonymous group of agency employees who seek to counter the "science denial coming from Trump's administration."

The controversial decision to temporarily halt tweets from the National Parks Service (NPS) came after the agency retweeted a post from New York Times reporter Binyamin Appelbaum pointing out how far fewer people attended Trump's inauguration than showed up for Barack Obama's in 2009.

Officials from the president's social media team then told the NPS to stop tweeting and cancel all tweets already prepared and scheduled for future release until new official social media guidelines could be released. The agency has since updated its Twitter account to say "we regret the mistaken RTs from yesterday" and claimed it was hacked.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer than reiterated this statement later on Wednesday, saying the tweet had been removed by the agency on its own for violating NPS policy.

Trump then moved to silence the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), not only requesting a social media blackout and putting a temporary ban on the organization handing out any contracts or grants, but also ordering it to remove the climate change page from its website. However, a source inside the agency later told the press that it plans to resist the demand.

The president then continued his crackdown by muzzling the Department of Agriculture's scientific arm, the Agricultural Research Service (ARS). According to a department-wide email published by Buzzfeed News: "Starting immediately and until further notice, ARS will not release any public-facing documents. This includes, but is not limited to, news releases, photos, fact sheets, news feeds and social media content."

The ARS is responsible for, among other things, conceiving scientific solutions to an array of agricultural issues such as the dwindling number of honeybees.

Rogue rangers

It was then that some NPS workers decided to defy the president and set up an "Alternative Parks Service" account - likely a nod to Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway calling Press Secretary Sean Spicer's false statements about the inauguration audience "alternative facts."

Although Twitter shows that the account has been registered since May 2015, the oldest tweet still on the @AltNatParkSer page was just 23 hours old. In those hours, however, the group of workers who say they are running the account on their free time have already been prolific. Tweeting links to pages about climate science and how Trump's proposed policies could harm the wildlife in America's national parks, the account now has hundreds of thousands more followers than the official National Parks Service account.

A similar account for the Badlands National Parks service in South Dakota has also cropped up, with entries such as: "Fun Fact: In the Cretaceous Period, BadlandsNP was covered by a shallow sea. Our New Prez' climate policies will RESTORE them to that state!"

The account also added a series of tweets about Trump's proposed registry for Muslim immigrants, comparing it to the historical atrocity of Japanese internment during World War II. It further encouraged other gagged agencies, like the CIA, to set up alternative Twitter accounts "if it's this easy."

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